How Flavors and Other Ingredients Affect Beverage Flavorings
Flavors play an important role in the creation of beverages. They can impact how a beverage tastes, how it smells and how it feels.
Today’s trends indicate that flavorings are being incorporated more than ever into beverage formulations. They’re being influenced by economics, demographics, marketing trends and more.
Acidifiers are a key ingredient in preserving a variety of foods and beverages. They contribute stability, help prevent spoilage and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
They also affect flavor perception and balance the sweetness to sourness ratio in a product. Without these acidifiers, many products would be unpalatable, including baked goods and desserts that depend on their sourness to stay fresh.
In addition, they also act as preservatives and antioxidants to keep foods healthy. Some are even beneficial in assisting color retention in foods and beverages.
A number of different acids can serve as an acidifier, including acetic, citric, fumaric, lactic, propionic and sodium. They can be either organic or inorganic.
Although some acids are naturally occurring, others are created by the processing of fruits and vegetables. Some of these include malic, lactic, tartaric, and pectinic acids, as well as phosphoric, calcium-formate and potassium-diformate salts.
Acids can be used alone or in combination to add a sour taste and beverage flavorings help preserve foods and beverages. They can be added to juices, dairy products and meat products.
Typically, acidulants are blended to optimize their effectiveness and minimize their cost. They are often used in hot-pack drinks, such as soft drinks and teas, or in frozen and canned beverages.
They are also used in ice cream and dairy products to add a sour flavor. Some can be mixed with sugar and other ingredients to enhance a product’s shelf life or to provide a sweet-tart balance for a beverage.
Lactic acid is a dicarboxylic acid that is naturally occurring in milk, as well as other fruits and vegetables. It has a slightly acidic pH and can be added to many dairy products, including fermented milks, cheeses and buttermilk.
It is also a popular ingredient in refrigerated deli salads that depend on reduced acidity to maintain freshness and extend shelf life. Old Home Foods (Rochester, Minn.) is using it to reduce the pH of its refrigerated Crab Dip.
While they can be a good way to provide a sour flavor and help stabilize foods and beverages, they can also mask other flavors. They can be especially useful when a processor wants to avoid the overbearing astringency, tartness or bitterness of other acidulants.
Bitters are an important ingredient for a wide range of alcoholic beverages. They can help a drink have a full, complete flavor profile and enhance the overall experience of drinking a cocktail.
Bitter flavors are derived from herbs, roots, barks, fruits and vegetables. They are often used to give a specific taste, but they can also be made for medicinal purposes.
They can be a great addition to cocktails, but they can also be used for non-alcoholic drinks as well. For example, bitters can be used to elevate the taste of soda water and tonic.
Using bitters in these non-alcoholic drinks can improve the flavor and add an interesting aromatic element to them. You can try a combination of lemon juice and bitters in a glass of soda water for a refreshing, bright taste.
A variety of bitters are available on the market, including Angostura bitters and Peychaud’s bitters. These are the most popular types of bitters for drinks, and you can find them in a variety of classic cocktails such as Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Negronis, Martinis and Sazeracs.
Angostura bitters are a favorite of bartenders because they have a complex, deep, and spicy flavor that works well in both sweet and sour cocktails. They are often combined with other ingredients such as gin, vodka or whiskey.
Other brands of bitters have lighter flavors and are less spicy, such as Peychaud’s bitters. Known for their fragrant and cinnamon-infused flavors, these bitters are a staple of the Old Fashioned and Sazerac cocktails.
They’re a little less sweet and have a bit more citrus in their flavor, but they have a subtle and pleasant bitterness that can be added to a variety of cocktails. They’re a popular choice for anyone looking for a fresh, new taste in their favorite drinks.
Unlike many other beverage flavorings, bitters can be stored for an extended period of time and won’t go bad. However, they can lose some of their flavor and aroma over time. It’s best to store bitters in a cool, dark place away from light, heat, and moisture.
Sweeteners, both nutritive and nonnutritive, affect flavor and texture of beverages. Choosing the right sweetener can have a dramatic impact on beverage development. Whether you’re designing a new drink concept or updating your existing offering, it’s important to understand the impact of different sweeteners on cost, taste, mouthfeel and functionality.
Sweetener options for beverages include sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), crystalline fructose and stevia. Although many of these sweeteners are similar, each offers unique benefits.
For example, HFCS may offer improved microbiological safety and can lower fat and saturated fat content. It also provides a more natural and consistent sweetness, while reducing the need for additional sweeteners to maintain flavor and texture.
While a single sweetener can have a significant impact on flavor and mouthfeel, formulators often use a blend of sweeteners to achieve desired flavors. In addition to enhancing flavor, sweeteners also contribute browning characteristics, viscosity and body and mouthfeel.
Artificial sweeteners are a popular choice for low-calorie beverages, and are available in a variety of forms, including sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame-K and saccharin. Some of these sweeteners are more intense than sugar, ranging from 200 to 700 times stronger.
Those with a GRAS status, such as stevia, have become an increasingly popular option for beverage manufacturers looking to minimize calories and carbohydrate intake without sacrificing the quality of their products. However, the FDA has not yet approved stevia as a general-purpose sweetener in the United States.
Another alternative to sugar is agave nectar, a naturally occurring sweetener derived from the agave plant. This ingredient is similar to honey in taste, but is difficult to store and has a limited shelf life.
It is also more expensive than honey, requiring a beverage flavorings more extensive processing. In addition, agave nectar can be very bitter when added to a beverage, and its flavor may not be perceived as natural or pleasant by some consumers.
For a natural, low-calorie solution, a popular option is monk fruit, a zero-calorie sweetener native to southern China. The small round fruit contains mogroside, which is about as sweet as sugar. The consumption rate of this sweetener is significantly less than that of sugar, offering potential cost savings.
When formulating beverages, it is important to consider other ingredients that can affect beverage flavorings. These include functional ingredients, such as protein and dairy, that are used to add nutrients and enhance the drink. Often, these ingredients are associated with flavors such as chocolate and vanilla.
Other ingredients that can impact the flavoring of a beverage include natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup. These can have a positive or negative effect on the beverage’s flavor, depending on the source and type of sugar.
Moreover, the ratio of sugars to acids plays an important role in balancing sweetness and tartness. For example, a ripe fruit has more sugar and less acid than a green or unripe fruit. This helps give the flavor of a ripe fruit its unique taste.
Additionally, color can influence expectations about a drink’s flavor before tasting it. Research shows that participants associate the colors orange, yellow and red with different fruit flavors.
In addition, color can be used as a marketing tool to enhance the drink’s perceived healthfulness. For instance, red may be associated with strawberry or raspberry flavors while brown can be associated with lemon or mint.
Flavorings also can be boosted by additives, such as emulsifiers and solvents. The FDA allows food and beverage manufacturers to use these in the formulation of beverages, but they must disclose them on product labels. These are called “incidental additives.” They can be natural or artificial, e.g., acetic acid and FD&C Blue #5. In addition to the aforementioned ingredient, a new program launched by Switzerland-based Givaudan Flavors SA provides beverage manufacturers with the essential flavor components to help them launch products that contribute to healthier lifestyles while maintaining their taste.